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Pacific women can have free two-yearly breast screening

Pacific women encouraged to have free two-yearly breast screening

October is Breast Cancer Action Month and this year BreastScreen Central has a particular focus on encouraging Pacific women to be screened. Free breast screening for women aged 45 to 69 years is provided by the national breast screening programme, BreastScreen Aotearoa (BSA). BreastScreen Central provides breast screening services in the greater Wellington region.

Palolo Scanlan, BreastScreen Central Health Promoter, says it’s very important Pacific women know about breast screening and feel comfortable to go and have a mammogram.

Currently, the breast cancer screening coverage rate for Wairarapa, Hutt Valley, the greater Wellington region and Porirua and Kapiti, for Pacific women 50 to 69 years, is 61 percent. This compares with a total screening rate for all eligible women of nearly 71 percent.

“Regular mammograms can pick up really small breast cancers, so treatment can start early, leading to the best chance of success,” she says.

To support Breast Cancer Action Month messages about breast screening are being played on local radio, in several Pacific languages.

“Using radio to reach Pacific women in their own language has resulted in a number of calls to BreastScreen Aotearoa’s 0800 270 200 free phone,” says Ms Scanlan.

Vahine Orama PACIFICA Newtown recently organised a health day in Wellington, with a focus on encouraging Pacific women to have their free mammograms every two years.

“It was a great success and saw 27 Pacific women enrolled onto the BSA programme, with 20 having mammograms on the day,” says local president Gabby Makisi.

There are four fixed BreastScreen Central sites in the greater Wellington region, and a mobile unit. They are:

• Hutt Hospital
• Kenepuru Hospital
• Pacific Radiology, WakefieldHospital
• Pacific Radiology, Johnsonville

The mobile unit rotates around the KapitiCoast, Wellington Central and Wairarapa regions.

To make an appointment for a mammogram, for more information about BreastScreen Aotearoa or to enrol, call freephone 0800 270 200, or visit www.breastscreen.govt.nz.

ENDS

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